July 15, 2019

SLU AT Student Returns to Clinical Site with Improved Confidence at Christian Brothers College HS

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Christian Brothers College High School
By: Abigail Hoffman (MAT Class of 2020)

I’ve enjoyed my experience at Christian Brothers College High School (aka CBC) so far this summer. It is nice to be back and be able to work on my skills here again. I know how everything works and who everyone is, so it was an easy transition. I am excited to see how much my skills have improved from being here in the Fall to being here now. I can confidently do things I was not comfortable doing before. 
When I was here during the fall semester, it took me a while to warm up and become comfortable practicing new skills. Now since I have been able to practice what I learn in class for an entire year, I have confidence to go ahead and tape athletes without needing to consult with Kristen Jeans, ATC, LMT, my preceptor from Mercy Sports Medicine, as well as do evaluations on athletes. Evaluations are something I never felt comfortable doing during my first rotation here at CBC, so I’m proud of myself for being able to throw myself into evaluations since I’ve started my summer field experience.
I look forward to improving my skills this summer. CBC football is a good place for me to keep doing evaluations because injuries happen often and since my preceptor is a licensed massage therapist, she is teaching me some of her techniques for treating athletes with neural tension. Kristen teaches me things that I feel I would only learn from being in the field practicing. That is why I have always appreciated my time here at CBC because it is a valuable learning experience.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 14, 2019

SLU AT Student Grows Clinical and Time Management Skills in Busy Professional Setting with the Schaumburg Boomers

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Schaumburg Boomers 
By: Rachel Wilhelm (MAT Class of 2020)

Having finished my first year as a professional student in SLU’s Athletic Training program, I am now preparing for my second year with a summer field experience. I am set with the Schaumburg Boomers, a professional baseball team apart of the independent Frontier League. My preceptor is Mylie Leatherman, ATC. She is employed by the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute (IBJI) and is currently going on her third year as the head athletic trainer for the Boomers. She received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) in December of 2016 and is currently working toward her Master’s degree. Having already been with the team for a few years, Mylie really understands what is required of her to keep the team running with their hectic schedules of games six days a week and constant travel. Everyday, we come in even before the set treatment time to prep for the day. The athletes then come in and we work to get their treatment and rehab done before BP (batting practice). Even then, we go out with them to observe and do a little bit extra here and there for some of them, such as eccentric ball toss or agility training drills. But one of the best parts, is being able to see the team in action from the dugout. I have definitely learned a lot about baseball since starting with the Boomers.
Treatment time before games is when I really get to practice my skills and learn new techniques. Honestly, it can get a little crazy with just Mylie and me for the whole team, but it’s training me to be able to think quickly and be more efficient with my time. Since coming to the team, Mylie has given me the responsibility of designing rehab protocols for a few of the players. I have been doing the evaluations and helping athletes complete the treatment plan I lay out for them. We also make use of different soft tissue techniques to help with cases involving muscle strains, trigger points, neural tension, and more. There are also modalities that we include in some treatment protocols such as electric stimulation and ultrasound. While I am very familiar with these options from my previous clinical sites,  it is always interesting to me just how different the uses of these treatment methods are just going from sport to sport. Because of this, I am trying to make sure I learn as much as I can in the short time I have left here with the Boomers. I am really looking forward to how much I will have learned by the end of the summer.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 12, 2019

SLU AT Student Gets a Variety of Experiences on a Closely Integrated Team with the Louisville Cardinals

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - University of Louisville Athletics
By: Courtney Nall (MAT Class of 2020)

My time at the University of Louisville had been very fun and immersive. I am able to get experience with many athletic trainers that are here, so I am able to get a good sense of how everyone works. My preceptor, SLU alum Stuart Plamp MAT, ATC, does a great job of keeping me engaged every day and keeping me on my toes. He asks me my opinions on what I think we should do with a particular athlete, how I think we should progress a rehab and much more. I am able to use my knowledge and skills that I already have as well as learn new things every day. I feel that I am included in every step of an athletes’ care and that is really helping build my confidence as I move closer to becoming a professional in this field.
It was also refreshing to see the athletic training staff and the sport performance staff work well and close with each other. They both have the best interest of the athlete at heart and easily are able to modify things of a specific athlete on an as needed basis. I also like to see that the athletic trainers have a good working relationship with their respective coaches because I have not always witnessed that in my personal experience. It makes me feel at ease to know that those good relationships are attainable at this level of competition. I am very thankful for all the different opportunities that I have been given here and the things that I have been able to learn along the way.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 10, 2019

SLU AT Student Connects Interest in Music and Healthcare with the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps, Diamond Bar, CA
By: Emma Yonkers (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer, I have had the privilege to be part of the health care team for the Pacific Crest Drum and Bugle Corps. I’ve been interested in athletic training in the performing arts since getting injured during marching band in high school. I got better with the help of the ATs there, which is one of the reasons I wanted to become an athletic trainer. My preceptor, Cami McCallum RN, ATC, is an amazing example of someone who knows the activity and understands what these athletes go through. She knows what they need to say healthy; everything from what they eat to how/when they stretch, she is such a wonderful teacher and I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from her.
Drum Corps is, in essence, theatrical, competitive marching band. Each corps travels the US throughout the summer, competing in various competitions, ending in Indianapolis, where the national championships are held. A typical day at drum corps spring training consists of breakfast at 8 am. Then the members have a light workout, followed by a 3 hour rehearsal working on marching technique. Lunch is at 1 pm; music rehearsal starts at 2:30 and goes until dinner at 5pm. 6:30 is full ensemble rehearsal with all 200 members of the corps. They end the day with a snack and stretching protocol at 10 pm, before shower and lights out. The activity in itself is extremely physically and mentally challenging, not to mention also having to play a musical instrument at the same time.

Throughout my time here so far, I have seen injuries ranging from concussions to ankle sprains to fractured fingers and, unlike other sports, these athletes need to be in their show so as not to create a visual hole. Therefore, rehab is more about modifying movements to avoid recreating pain than it is about resting entirely. This is on a case by case basis but focusing on sport specific movement is very important. Soon, we will be traveling the country, caring for these athletes while they put everything they’ve got into the activity they love so much. I cannot wait for what the rest of the summer brings.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 04, 2019

SLU AT Student Enjoys Person-Centered Outpatient Rehabilitation Experience at Athletico

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Athletico
By: Marissa Burch (MAT Class of 2020)

During the school year, clinical experience is confined mostly to a school setting where we are seeing the same kids every day and experience all aspects of injury (prevention, emergency management, evaluations, rehabilitation, etc.). We see a lot and are constantly on the run. I love this environment, however, I wanted something a little different for my summer field experience. I was very excited to be with someone who not only works as an Athletic Trainer, but also as a Physical Therapist. SLU alumnus Bryan Lind, MPT, ATC works with the Saint Louis Ballet during their season. This is what drew me to want to learn from him this summer. Providing therapy for individuals who are used to such high intensity and high strain on their bodies is not an easy task. Finding ways to provide them comfort and relief when they are extremely flexible and strong, so those are not the issue becomes quite the task.

Bryan is incredibly intelligent, and I have already learned so much in such a short time with him thus far. He has expressed many times how his experience and years in the field have contributed so much to his knowledge and approach to treatment. The field is constantly changing and growing and to see that in action has been very interesting and rewarding. It has been a nice change of pace, where I am seeing a lot of new techniques and approaches to treating the underlying causes to injury and not just the injury itself. While I do not have as much training or certifications as Bryan does and many not be able to perform all of the same techniques that he can, I will still be able to use so much of this knowledge in my upcoming career.

I have helped a much more diverse group of individuals, varying from high school athletes to older individuals who have fallen and need help strengthening to prevent this from occurring again. With this diverse group of individuals comes a large variety of injuries as well, although Bryan specializes in mostly lower body injuries, he does everything. I have learned so much more about manipulations and mobilizations than I thought possible and have seen a lot of new ways to perform soft tissue work. While I am not able to perform as much hands on activities in the clinic as I am at the school setting, I am learning so many new techniques, I have enjoyed being able to help patients through their rehabilitation and watch as Bryan performs a ton of manual therapy, which I will be able to use in my own practice.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 03, 2019

SLU AT Students Get Hands-on Experience in Professional Baseball with the Gateway Grizzlies

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Gateway Grizzlies Baseball Club
By:  Hannah Daily (MAT Class of 2020) and Justin Durham (MAT Class of 2020) 

This summer we have had the opportunity to experience professional baseball with the Gateway Grizzlies and preceptor, Geof Manzo, MS, ATC. The Grizzlies are an independent baseball team in the Frontier League located in Sauget, IL. 

Since day one, everyone within the Grizzlies organization has created a fun and immersive atmosphere on and off the field. Getting to know Geof and the players has been a good insight to the world of athletic training in the professional setting, which is much different from a traditional setting in a high school or university. Every day brings something new and exciting for us as we get to help the athletes feel better and get back out on the field. From new stretching techniques to dynamic warm ups on the field before games, we have already learned a lot from Geof within the first few weeks of our rotation.
Our typical day starts around 12:30pm and usually ends around 11:00pm. We have about two hours of treatments and rehabs before we head out to warm-up the pitchers. After the pitchers are done, hitters take batting practice and soon after we head back to the club house where we can do any final stretching or anything else the players may need. The rest of the day we are busy with the game and clean up. We get a lot of experience using soft tissue mobilization and cupping techniques along with rehab programs for upper and lower body. We have also had the opportunity to experience a new technique for getting the hips in proper alignment if the athlete feels like their motion is restricted. 

We have already learned so much from Geof and are looking forward to the continued hands-on experience with the athletes. Even though it has only been a couple of weeks, it has been a great experience so far and we are excited for the rest of the summer with Geof and the Grizzlies.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 02, 2019

SLU AT Student Learns the Importance of Communication While in Multiple Settings at Athletico and Fenwick High School

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - Athletico and Fenwick High School
By: Conner Mongoven (MAT Class of 2020)

My summer field experience is at Athletico and Fenwick High School with preceptor Tony McCormick ATC. Throughout this experience, I get to be in both a high school athletics setting and a physical therapy clinic. Between these two settings, I get to witness a wide variety of populations with a wide variety of goals. With many athletes, their goals are typically to perform as best they can in their sport, to avoid injury, and to minimize or eliminate the time they sit out due to injury. In the clinic, the patient’s goals very much more. Some are athletically minded as well, but many patients are there just wanting to be able to perform activities of daily living without pain or extra assistance, or to be able to go to work and be effective there without complications.

Being in both these settings adds a new challenge to face having only worked with athletes during clinical rotations thus far in the program. That challenge involves communication. In an athletic setting, many athletes tend to be easily coachable and teachable with regards to the rehab and exercises you put them through. With different populations in the clinic, this isn’t always the case. Many of the patients there aren’t necessarily as exposed to the exercises and environment that athletes are in all the time. This means that there needs to be a lot more attention to detail in the clinic with your explanations, demonstrations, cues, and feedback of rehabilitation exercises. In the position of being in both settings, it is necessary to determine and excel at the techniques that work best in each place and be able to communicate the reasonings and benefits of each exercise to the athlete or patient.
Another aspect of communication is the patient interaction apart from their rehab and exercises. This requires strong interpersonal skills and abilities. In the clinic, it’s necessary to form a relationship with each patient. Forming this relationship builds better trust from the patient and will provide an overall greater outcome of their rehabilitation and experience. With the high school athletes, it is also key to build relationships with them to build trust and create a positive environment for the team as a whole which allows the best care to be provided throughout the whole season. Perhaps the most important consideration in forming these bonds is to keep a high level of professionalism. Being able to understand patient goals and execute the best communication practices leads to successful outcomes across the high school and clinical settings.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.

July 01, 2019

SLU AT Student Appreciates Professional Sports Clinical Experience with St. Louis FC

SLU AT Clinical Site Spotlight - St. Louis Football Club
By: Claire Ditman (MAT Class of 2020)

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to work with St. Louis Football Club, a professional soccer team in the United Soccer League located in Fenton, MO. My dream setting would be in the professional realm somewhere, even if it is not soccer, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to spend the summer gaining experience in the care and treatment of professional athletes. Although it is similar to collegiate athletes in some ways, it is also drastically different. This is their career and how they make a living, so the way in which injuries are approached and treated is much different.
I have the pleasure of work with and learning from STLFC Head Athletic Trainer Jake Tanner, MS, ATC, LAT from Mercy Sports Medicine. We spend the majority of the time at training session and games preparing the athletes beforehand through many different soft tissue techniques such as massage, trigger point release, positional release therapy, and active release techniques. This has been different than previous experience I have had where manual techniques were not utilized. However, it has allowed me to gain both experience and an understanding of the importance of these techniques and how they can greatly benefit athletes. 

Another domain that is largely reflected at STLFC is rehabilitation, specifically using corrective exercises to improve how the athletes moves in hope of preventing further injury. Almost every athlete on the team has 5-15 exercises, depending on their health status, they complete every day before training. They also do “pre-hab” as a team which consists of 3-5 corrective movements that are put together by the Athletic Training staff and the Strength and Conditioning Coach in order to improve the athlete’s performance.  Being part of the construction of the exercise programs, as well as, teaching the athletes the proper way to perform them, has greatly increased my knowledge and comfort with rehabilitation.

Along with the clinical skills I am gaining, I am also gaining many professional skills that are necessary when working with any athletes, but specifically those at the professional level. From your appearance to your actions, they are a direct reflection of you and it is important to maintain a high level of professionalism when working at this level.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have an immersive field experience in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their experience.